Sunday, March 29, 2015

Why Did Jesus Have to Come and Die?

Jesus Died

Exodus 28:1-43

This Easter season, we shall be centering our thoughts on the person of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We shall in the next two Sundays consider three great miracles in His life. Today we shall consider the miracle of His incarnation and the miracle of His death. Next Sunday, God willing, we shall consider the miracle of His resurrection.

In the first place, one question stands out to us – we shall seek to answer this question today –Why did Jesus have to come into this world to die? Before we seek to answer this question, let us, using eight (8) sub-topics, seek to examine the person of Jesus Christ. Who is he?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Proof of the Orange

orange fruit

Once an atheist said; “If any man can prove to me that there is God, I shall believe in Him. But I am sure that there is none, and if there is, there is no proof, conclusive scientific proof, to show that He exists.” 

Everywhere was quiet and it looked that his bluff was not going to be challenged until an old man came out with an unpeeled orange in his hand.

Before the audience and under the watchful eyes of the challenger, the old man peeled the orange and proceeded to eat the orange without saying one word.

When he finished eating the orange he turned to the atheist and said: “Tell me, my friend, how did the orange taste?” 

The atheist now furious, answered; “How can I know how the orange tasted, did I eat it with you? How have you proved that God exists by peeling an orange and eating it?”

The old man now replied: “In the same way, how will you know that God exists except you come to Him?”

That is why the Psalmist exclaimed in Psalm 34:8 and 15: “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry.”

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Prepared for Change

stop banging on it

First Kings 17:7-10
“And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup that I may drink.”

A while ago we considered the drying up of the Brook Cherith on which Prophet Elijah depended for fresh water supply. We saw that there are many brooks in our lives on which we depend, sometimes to the extent of forgetting the God who is the source and keeper of the brook. God allows our brooks to dry up to make us realize where our source of supply comes from.

When the brook dried-up, God had His reasons for directing His Prophet to Zarephath; Elijah was to learn more lessons in the school of God there. God’s plan for him was relocation – transfer to a new location perhaps with a new ministry and a different source of supply. We all resist change, but sometimes change usher in new visions and new activities. Jesus Himself referring to Elijah’s relocation said in Luke 4:24-26: “Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country.  But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land;  but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.”

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Short Stories: Thank God for Mothers

Mothers


I like my Mother's Translation the best


Four clergymen were discussing the various translations of the Bible. One liked the King James Version because of its beautiful English. Another, the Revised Version of 1881 because of its literal and accurate translation of the original Hebrew and Greek. The third likes the James Moffatt translation for its up to date vocabulary. The fourth was silent. When asked to express his opinion he replied, ‘I like my mother’s translation best’. The others were surprised. ‘I didn’t know your mother translated the Bible’ one said. ‘Oh yes’ came the reply. ‘She translated it into life and it was the most convincing translation I ever saw’
-J.C. Mitchell.
   
****

Sunday, March 08, 2015

A man named Achan


Reading: Joshua 7:1-26

In the records of God’s people under the leadership of Field Marshal Joshua, God did mighty things and the people of Israel had great conquests. One day, the most unusual thing happened: not just opposition or resistance, but defeat from unexpected quarters. 

In Joshua 6, Jericho has just been conquered, a great victory for God and His people that day. BUT as Jericho was being conquered, an undisciplined soldier, a man named Achan,  was busy falling to his covetousness and taking forbidden spoil. And because of this, God turned His back on the people. This is documented in Joshua 7:1-5: 

Verse 1 – The sin of disobedience of Achan yet unknown
Verses 2 & 3 – Reconnaissance team sent and their report
Verse 4 – Joshua acted on the their report
Verses 4-5 – The greatest surprise – defeat why?

Was it not through the prayer of Joshua that God had done great things in the past? Was it not through his prayer that God made the sun and the moon to stand still? Why this defeat? Look at verse one again. The Lord’s command to Israel not to take from Jericho anything that was to be destroyed was not obeyed or as the King James Version put it “But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing!” "But it was not all the people of Israel, it was only Achan",  one is tempted to say. But can a chain be stronger than its weakest link? Never! One bad apple makes the whole bunch stink.

A chain is as strong as its weakest link. One bad apple makes the whole bunch stink. [Tweet]

Achan’s covetousness resulted in Israel’s defeat. Lust had been conceived and it gave birth to sin. Sin renders prayer unacceptable before God. Habakkuk 1:13 reads “But How can you stand these treacherous, evil men? O Lord, your eyes are too holy to look at evil, and you cannot stand the sight of people doing wrong.” That must therefore be the reason why in Joshua 7:12 God said to Joshua and his people: “I will not be with you any longer unless you destroy the thing you were ordered not to take” 

When the accursed thing was removed and chastisement exercised – triumph followed quickly. The valley of Achan became the door of hope, the locust-eaten years were restored. Confession and forgiveness quicken dormant energies and liberate power in the service of the Lord.

God will have us to be disciplined, fruitful servants and so has made all things that would enhance this end available to us. Let us first take a quick look at them in Ephesians 6:10-18.  As a disciple of the Most High, we are in battle, we are not provided with an armour for fun.

i.   Our loins should be girded about with truth ... Jesus is the Truth
ii.  Breastplate of righteousness ... we are covered in Christ’s righteousness
iii. Shoes the preparation of the Gospel of peace, Christ is our peace.
iv. The shield of faith ... Jesus is the author and Finisher of our faith
v.   The helmet of Salvation ... with His blood we are saved.
vi.  Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God ... Christ is the Word which has been with God from the beginning. In Revelation 19:13 we read: “His name is called “The Word of God”


What Paul wrote to the Ephesians in eight verses, he wrote to the Romans in eight words. In Romans 13:14 we read: “But you put on the Lord Jesus Christ” Here therefore is the outfit of a disciplined soldier of the Cross – Jesus Christ Himself. Let us do a little inward looking. Are you a disciplined soldier? Am I?

God does not force people into His army. He says whoever wills may come. Whoever comes, He will receive. Some of us here may not have come. Will you come today? Be a Christian soldier today and God will start purging, cleansing and preparing you for glory. Perhaps you have come, but are yet undisciplined, God is still willing to cleanse you and discipline you.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Learning Discipline from the Soldier, the Athlete and the Farmer

soldier, athlete, farmer

Reading: Second Timothy 2:1-19

There was a time when the then Nigerian Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo,  made so much call for discipline that it became a house-hold word. Many people tried to refer to their Dictionaries to find out if the word had acquired a new meaning. I did too!. The Concise Oxford English Dictionary says among other things: 
System of rules for conduct; control exercised over members of Church; chastisement (Ecclesiastical); mortification by penance; (were Paul to define discipline I feel convinced that he would have taken this last one for his definition).